by Vladimir Karen
1/700 IJN Chokai at Savo (Fujimi)
My build shows the heavy cruiser IJN Chokai just seconds before firing salvos at the American Northern Group at Savo, guns and searchlights trained to port. She´s got no floatplanes on board as the IJN doctrine called for flying them away before entering combat to get rid of unnecesarry inflammables on board. She wears the flag of Vice Admiral Mikawa on the mainmast as well as white sleeves on the foremast that were used on Japanese ships at Savo for recognition in the night battle as mentioned by several Japanese sources.
My Chokai is based on the recent IJN Heavy Cruiser Chokai 1942 kit by Fujimi in 1/700 scale plus the corresponding Fujimi photo-etch set. Parts from many additional aftermarket sets (photo etch, turned brass barrels, mushroom vents, 25mm guns etc.) were added.
Some problems of the Fujimi kit that I addressed:
- Degaussing cable should be positioned slightly differently than in the kit (even if the small PE correction sheet supplied in the kit would be used) - see discussion at CASF IJN Takao thread page 27 for correct position
- Aft funnel has incorrect crossection shape (horseshoe vs. oval shape, see Skulski fig. C12/1) and its aft part leads all the way vertically while it´s bottom part should be curved aft (like it´s front) – however, this error would not be too noticeable on the completed ship even if left as it is.
- This and the four following problems are documented in my post at CASF IJN Takao thread page 29
- Torpedo tubes have no torpedo warhead detail, they are just flat in the kit - if you want to show them trained to the side (standard requirement during combat) you need to add detail or replace them e.g. by the corresponding Pit-Road set
- The 12cm secondary armament in the kit is unusable (it´s back is closed and flat) and needs to be replaced (I used those from Pit-Road NE-03 set)
- Anchors supplied in the kit are simply horrible and need to be replaced
- Main bridge windows of all three bridge levels are molded on incorrectly and the adjacent roofs above them are slightly shorter than they should be. No replacement windows are provided in the Fujimi Chokai PE set so an additional set (e.g. Rainbow IJN Bridge window set Rb7092) is needed.
- Front director/lookout platform on port side of the bridge (kit part C35) should be shortened and the frontmost director removed so that it is symmetrical with the platform on starboard (part C36)
- Aft superstructure – its forwardmost part (at the base of mainmast) needs lowering one level, aft bridge windows need to be added
- There are two small symmetrical structures (parts J6, J7) on the secondary gun deck sides in the kit, both of them are incorrect (see Skulski fig. H5/3-6 for reference). J6 can be used as a basis for depicting the washing machine shed on stardboard, but J7 should not be used at all on the port side. Heavy oil hose shed is completely missing on the port side. Also the central structure supporting the front funnel (part P1) needs adding side vents.
- Torpedo loading area had storing for 4 torpedoes side by side in the kit while Chokai only had 2 (Skulski fig. E23/8-10), anyway this area was covered with canvas most of the time as shown on many photos
- Although the mainmast and the foremast are molded carefully in the kit, especially the foremast still comes out far too thick compared to the very light-weight construction on the actual ship, so I replaced both masts with soldered brass
Many thanks to Dan Kaplan for his extensive help and advice!
- Janusz Skulski: Anatomy of the Ship - The Heavy Cruiser Takao (Ed2)
- ModelArt Super Illustration: The Heavy Cruiser Takao 1927-1937
- Modelwarships.com: Calling all IJN Takao class fans thread
- wartime photos from different sources
Please visit my photoalbum at Flickr for photos in higher resolution.